90% BS: Obama's claim that
"more than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay in our shared border"
appears to be deceptively hyped , at best. (The 90% figure only covers the guns that are sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireams for testing. There seems little reason to assume it is a representative sample of all the "guns recovered in Mexico"). But is the suspect factoid really designed to "weaken the Second Amendment" and promote gun control, as the NRA charges? Or is it just convenient diplomatic BS because it allows the United States to be partly blamed for Mexico's embarrassing inability to control its violent drug cartels? (True, you'd think it would be unnecessary, since the U.S., as the consumer of the illegal drugs the cartels sell, is already partly to blame.) ...
Update: Obama's stat has now received the Official Annenberg Seal of B.S . from FactCheck.Org, which notes :
the guns that ATF is given to trace are far from a random sample of all guns recovered. Indeed, it omits those that Mexican officials have reason to believe come from elsewhere, and includes only those guns with a good chance of being traced to U.S. sources.
FactCheck 's seemingly thorough analysis concludes an accurate estimate would be "probably less than half of the 90 percent claimed by the president and others in his administration." But then we'd have less to apologize for! ... [ via Insta via Andrew Malcolm ] 1:06 A.M.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Screwing the Chooch : Did auto czarito Steven Rattner pay to play at his investment fund?... With the GM and Chrysler auto negotiations at their current critical stage, isn't he too big to fail--the Geithner Put? ... P.S.: In what may be an admirable display of independence, the NYT' s story makes Rattner--a former Times reporter and buddy of Times CEO Pinch Sulzberger--seem more potentially culpable than the WSJ' s story does. Formally, if the accusations are true, Rattner would merely be the shakedownee in the pension fund deal in question. But the Times makes it seem as if he aggressively plunged ahead in what was allegedly a seamy business. [ More 'allegedly's?-ed. Think I'm OK] ... Bonus Question: How many vetting problems make a "handful"? ... P.P.S.: How bad is "Chooch," the 2003 film Rattner's firm (allegedly) indirectly bought as part of the complicated financial machinations? Pretty bad, said the NYT . But according to the Village Voice it "charms with its p.c. portrayal of Italian Americans" and "rebuilds cultural bridges." So there. ...
Update: One of Rattner's "handful" of vetting problems was his conflict of interest due to previous dealings with Chrysler's owner, Cerberus. Jane Hamsher says
Rattner's Quadrangle has a financial relationship with Cerberus , having loaned them $125 million to buy the Maxim and Blender magazine parent two years ago (Cerberus is currently in default).
That's wrong. But close! It's Cerberus that loaned the money to Rattner's firm, not the other way around (see link). Hamsher's error is repeated and amplified by TPM 's Moe Tkacik . (Journolist synergy?) If Hamsher, who's well-connected with the labor movement, and Tkacik have it in for Rattner, maybe he really is the right guy for the auto bailout job --i.e. the guy who might force the UAW, as well as Detroit's bondholder's, back to reality. (Contra Hamsher, it's not "a national moral outrage that [UAW members] should expect to make $33 an hour in this day and age." The problem is expecting to keep making $33 when your firm has effectively gone bankrupt.) ... 10:34 P.M.